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Clemens Wen Zel Lothar Metternich-Winneburg

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METTERNICH-WINNEBURG, CLEMENS WEN ZEL LOTHAR, PRINCE (1773-1859), Austrian statesman and diplomatist, was born at Coblenz, May 15, 1773. His father, Count Franz Georg Karl von Metternich-Winneburg zu Beilstein (d. 1818), was a diplomatist who had passed from the service of the archbishop-elector of Trier to that of the court of Vienna ; his mother was Countess Maria Beatrix Aloisia von Kagenegg. At the time of Clemens Metternich's birth, and for some time subsequently, his father was Austrian ambassador to the courts of the three Rhenish electors, and the boy was thus from the first brought up under the influence of the tone and ideas which flourished in the small German courts that lay within the sphere of influence of the France of the ancien regime. In 1788 he went to the university of Strasbourg, but the outbreak of the French Revolution caused him to leave after two years.

Metternich was a witness of the excesses of the mob in Stras.

bourg, and he ascribed his life-long hatred of political innovation to these early experiences. In 1790, by way of striking contrast, he was deputed by the Catholic bench of the Westphalian college of counts to act as their master of the ceremonies at the corona tion of the Emperor Leopold II. at Frankfurt, a function which he again performed at the coronation of Francis II. in 1792. The intervening time he spent at Mainz, attending the university and frequenting the court of the archbishop-elector, where his im pressjons of the Revolution were strengthened by his intercourse with the French emigres who had made it their centre. The out break of the revolutionary war drove him from Mainz, and he went to Brussels, where he found employment in the chancery of his father, at that time Austrian minister to the Government of the Netherlands. Here, in Aug. 1794, he issued his first publica tion, a pamphlet in which he denounced the "shallow pates" of the old diplomacy and argued that the only way to combat the French revolutionary armies was by a levee en masse of the popu lations on the frontier of France—singular views for the states man who was destined to be the last great representative of the old diplomacy.

After a long stay in England, where he made the acquaintance of the prince of Wales (afterwards George IV.), Metternich went to Vienna; and on Sept. 27, 1795 he married at Austerlitz the Countess Eleonore von Kaunitz, a grand-daughter of the Austrian chancellor of that name. This alliance not only brought him great estates in Austria, but introduced him into the most exalted circles of Viennese society. Here he was well qualified to hold his own by reason of his handsome presence, the exquisite courtesy of his address and a certain reputation for gallantry. In Dec. 1797 he was chosen by the Westphalian counts as their repre sentative at the Congress of Rastadt, where he remained till 1799. In Jan. i8or he was appointed Austrian envoy to the elector of Saxony, and he then came into touch with many Russian and Polish families of importance. In Nov. 1803 his serious diplomatic career began with his appointment as am bassador at Berlin. His diplomacy here was not very successful although Prussia ultimately (18o5) signed a treaty with Austria and Russia; but he had made himself personally so agreeable to the French envoy that after his appointment as ambassador to Petersburg, Napoleon requested that he might be sent to Paris, where he took up his residence as ambassador in Aug. 1806. His influence in European politics grew rapidly henceforward. At first he ingratiated himself everywhere at the French court and in society, notably with Talleyrand and Caroline Murat, Napoleon's sister. In 1809, however, war broke out between France and Austria, as Metternich had personally urged in his court. He was arrested as a reprisal for the action of the Austrian Government in interning two members of the French embassy in Hungary, and in June, on Napoleon's capture of Vienna, he was conducted there under military guard.

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